Toyota 87C-L race car
|1987 to 1988|
The Toyota 87C-L was a sports car prototype of Group C , which was used for sports car racing in 1987 and in 1988.
Toyota's motorsport executives decided in the winter of 1986 to increase the factory's involvement in the sports car world championship. First and foremost, this meant more funding for racing car development and use. Toyota entered sports car racing in 1982 with the formation of Group C. The vehicles, however, were neither manufactured nor utilised by Toyota. Dome, a business created by Minoru Hayashi in 1978 that specialised in the manufacturing of racing vehicles, was in charge of the development and production of the racing car.
The racing missions were taken over by TOM'S Co. Ltd. - Tachi Iowa Motor Sport - named after the two founders Nobuhide Tachi and Kiyoshi Iowa. The race team, founded in 1974, provided the logistics for the operations, while the operational planning was partly at Toyota. This variant of team leadership is not uncommon among sports car manufacturers. The connection between Audi and Joest Racing may serve as an example from the present .
A major innovation in technology was the engine. The previous 4-cylinder 4T GT engine, which came in its base from the mass production, was retired. The new 2.1-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine got a completely new engine management and made 620 hp. After initial tests, the wall thickness of the engine block was increased, which made the unit heavier but also more durable.
From Dome changed the racing car designer Masahiro Ohkuni to the group and developed together with dome technicians three aluminum chassis. The cars were visually very successful and compact. However, the 87C-L lacked sufficient downforce right from the start; the main reason why the cars were too slow on the fast track from Le Mans . Toyota had almost only interest in the 1987 Le Mans 24 Hourswhere the overall victory since entering sports car racing was the big goal. However, this focus on a race was a certain development disadvantage compared to the competition. Although the cars were reported to Le Mans for some races, were missing cars and team race kilometers, which also served to eliminate weaknesses in aerodynamics and tuning.
Two chassis were used by TOM'S; Chassis 001 was taken over by Dome as Dome 87C-L for a total of six races.
The cars race debut gave the 87C-L in the 500 km race of Suzuka . The race was the first race of the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship of the year. The drivers did not compromise and entrusted the cockpits to experienced pilots. In the 87C-L with the number 36 who was sitting Formula 1 world champion of Formula 1 1980 season , the Australian Alan Jones , who could be required after a failed Formula 1 comeback. His partner was the experienced long-distance pilot Geoff Lees . After a fifth rank in training, the duo finished the race in third place in the overall standings, in the same round with the winners Hideki Okada and Mike Thackwell on a Porsche 962C and another Porsche driven by Kunimitsu Takahashi and Kenny Acheson . In the second race, the Japanese championship run in Fuji , there was a surprising overall victory by Jones, Lee and Masanori Sekiya .
After a disillusioned Le Mans test weekend in May 1987, when the fastest car, the Jaguar XJR-8 by Raul Boesel, missed almost 10 seconds for a lap, the TOM'S racing team came to the actual race in June with two cars . The car number 37 drove the two Japanese Masanori Sekiya and Kaoru Hoshino and Tiff Needell . Alan Jones, Geoff Lee and the Dome works driver Eje Elghthe prototype with the number 36. The use became a disaster. Alan Jones remained on the track after 19 laps without fuel, because the team had miscalculated in the fuel quantity after the second pit stop. The sister car drove only twenty laps longer, then the ride ended with an engine failure.